The Christmas compromise of 1959.A Christmas catalog catalog, descriptive list, on cards or in a book, of the contents of a library. Assurbanipal's library at Nineveh was cataloged on shelves of slate. The first known subject catalog was compiled by Callimachus at the Alexandrian Library in the 3d cent. B.C. arrived at my house one hot afternoon in August. Although tempted to throw it away, I glanced at the cover and saw that this catalog touted itself as offering "the unique and unexpected." Whether it was truly this caption that garnered my attention or the respite RESPITE, contracts, civil law. An act by which a debtor who is unable to satisfy his debts at the moment, transacts (i. e. compromises) with his creditors, and obtains from them time or delay for the payment of the sums which he owes to them. Louis. Code, 3051. from working in my yard in the unforgiving Mississippi heat that lured me to browse, I thumbed quickly through the pages. Sure enough, there on page 53 was an item truly unexpected, as unexpected as it had been in 1959 when I saw it for the first time.
In 1959, when I was 10 years old, Christmas was a time of great excitement and anticipation in our country home. As the oldest child, I was in charge of the Christmas decorations under my mother's ever-watchful eyes. The tree, of course, was the most important part of all the decorating to be done. We eagerly looked forward to the Saturday morning when we would all climb into the back of my uncle's trailer filled with hay and go in search of the perfect tree. After we had found the tree and cut it down, we would celebrate by drinking steaming cups of hot cider and eating my Aunt Lucy's Santa Claus Santa Claus: see Nicholas, Saint.
jolly, gift-giving figure who visits children on Christmas Eve. [Christian Tradition: NCE, 1937]
See : Christmas
Santa Claus cookies.
The tree that year was especially tall and beautiful. My brothers and sister and I hung every candy cane cane, walking stick
cane, walking stick. Probably used first as a weapon, it gradually took on the symbolism of strength and power and eventually authority and social prestige. , every ornament ornament, in architecture
ornament, in architecture, decorative detail enhancing structures. Structural ornament, an integral part of the framework, includes the shaping and placement of the buttress, cornice, molding, ceiling, and roof and the capital and we had ever made in elementary school elementary school: see school. , as well as ornaments Ornaments are a frequent embellishment to music. Sometimes different symbols represent the same ornament, or vice versa. Different ornament names can refer to an ornament from a specific area or time period. that my mother had received from her mother. How spectacular it seemed! As we all stood admiring our handiwork, my father came into the living room carrying one large box and several smaller ones.
At this time of year, boxes always meant presents, and the bigger the box, naturally the bigger the present. My father was so excited about the boxes and their hidden contents, he seemed more like a child himself than our usually reserved father.
All our eyes were riveted on him as he proceeded to open the boxes. Even more exciting was that we did not have to wait until Christmas morning to see the surprise. As he began to slit the top of the longest box with his pocketknife, our imaginations began to run wild. But nothing could have prepared us for what was inside. First, he took out two long aluminum poles that fit one inside the other. Then he began to insert smaller poles that were covered with something that resembled tiny silver toothpicks into the two large poles. He fitted the whole thing into a stand and turned to look at us.
Seeing the confused expressions on our young faces, he felt compelled to explain. "It is a Christmas tree Christmas tree
Evergreen tree, usually decorated with lights and ornaments, to celebrate the Christmas season. The use of evergreen trees, wreaths, and garlands as symbols of eternal life was common among the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews. , an aluminum tree. It is the newest kind of Christmas tree. When Christmas is over, we can take it apart, put it in the closet, and use it year after year."
Perhaps the phrase "year after year" sent me running to my room. There I sat on my bed and cried and cried and cried. I had fled the scene so quickly that I missed the box that contained the lighted disc that revolved re·volve
v. re·volved, re·volv·ing, re·volves
1. To orbit a central point.
2. To turn on an axis; rotate. See Synonyms at turn.
3. , making the tree change colors from red to blue to yellow, not to mention the smallest box that contained the perfectly matched red glass balls.
My Christmas was not ruined, however, for my mother was not only a clever woman but a real diplomat. The "real" tree reigned in our living room, while my mother somehow convinced my father that keeping his tree inside the house was selfish self·ish
1. Concerned chiefly or only with oneself: "Selfish men were . . . trying to make capital for themselves out of the sacred cause of human rights" Maria Weston Chapman. . So my father's tree graced the front porch porch
Roofed structure, usually open at front and sides, projecting from the face of a building and used to protect an entrance. If colonnaded, it may be called a portico. of our house, changing colors for the whole community. My father was so proud when he received an award in the community lighting contest.
The tree came down earlier than was scheduled when my daddy's prize bird dog, Tim, ran through it and sent the tree with all its red glass balls crashing to the ground. The next year, the tree stood in my mother's school room for other children to enjoy. Finally, the tree was on display in the front window at Worthy Brothers' store in Pickens to be enjoyed by the entire town. My father would ride over several times a week just to sit and admire it.
The tree in the catalog looks just like the one that came to our house in 1959 and almost spoiled Christmas for us all. But I can tell you one thing. My father did not spend $469.99 for that tree or $49.99 for the revolving disc 40 years ago, but he would be the first one to place an order today.
Weezie Mansell Polk of Jackson is married and the mother of two. She is the children's director at First Presbyterian Church First Presbyterian Church is a generic church name, and can refer to hundreds of churches within the English speaking world. If you followed a link here, please consider making it more specific by including the city or town in which the church resides. in Jackson.